My Story Of Cleft Palate: Part 1

My Story Of Cleft Palate: Part 1

"Sally Sells Seashells By The Seashore"
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(When it began and What it is)

I was born on January 5th, 1998 with something my parents were not expecting. It was soft cleft palate. Cleft is the term used to talk about a split and palate is the roof of your mouth. The difference in mine is that it was my soft palate which is the muscular part rather that the bony part. The soft plate is toward the back of your mouth and is connected to the thing that hangs in the back of your throat, which is your uvula. Also my uvula is barely noticeable because of the whole there and repairs. When people hear of this they often connect it to cleft lip which wasn’t the case for me. Mine was only cleft palate, but many people often have cleft lip and palate together. Though others may just have cleft lip.


(Repairs)

The first repair of my cleft palate was in October of 1998, when I was only 9 months old. Then at 18 months old, in July of 1999 I had my second repair, which was my last.

(1st Issue)

The first issue was that when I’d drink anything it would come back up through my nose because of the difficulty swallowing. For example, when I was a baby my parents would feed me starch in my bottles because of another medical issue I have, and they’d always have a mess to clean up afterwards. Because feeding a baby with cleft palate is a lot more difficult than a baby without.

(2nd Issue)

As I got older and began talking, it was obvious I had a speech issue. My issue was with how my S’s and CH’s sounded more nasally. This led to me starting speech therapy at the age of 3. I wasn’t enrolled in school yet, but I was able to take these classes at the elementary school on base. I continued to take speech classes at each school I went to, which was around 3-4 schools. Many of the activities for speech included bringing home work sheets and practicing words that involved these sounds. I especially remember having to repeat phrases such as “Mama Makes Me Mash My M&Ms” and “Sally Sells Seashells By The Seashore.” In the fourth grade, I finally “graduated” as the teachers called it. They said I had improved so much that it was barely noticeable I ever had a problem and that it wasn’t really needed anymore.

(3rd Issue)

Even though I eventually graduated, I faced other problems between that time of speech. In the first grade, I faced one of my more difficult times, that I specifically remember from my cleft palate. Because it was still in the earlier years of learning techniques on how to sound better, I hadn’t improved much, and still sounded very nasally. One kid decided to use this against me and mocked me for it nearly every day. I remember one instance, when we were both standing at the sink and when I said soap he repeated in the way I sounded. These type of things continued to go on, and my parents got involved with the school and I ended up going to the guidance counselor.



Cover Image Credit: http://cleftpalsvic.com/

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When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a very protective person.

From making sure the car seat is strapped in properly before every trip, to watching baby boy breathe while he sleeps, you'll never meet someone, besides mommy and daddy of course, who is more concerned with the safety of that little person than me.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her a miniature best friend.

There is something about an aunt that is so fun. An aunt is a person you go to when you think you're in trouble or when you want something mom and dad said you couldn't have. An aunt is someone who takes you to get ice cream and play in the park to cool down after having a temper tantrum. I can't wait to be the one he runs to.

When you make a girl an aunt, she gets to skip on the difficulty of disciplining.

Being an aunt means you get to be fun. Not to say I wouldn't correct my nephew if he were behaving poorly, but for the most part, I get to giggle and play and leave the hard stuff for my brother.

When you make a girl an aunt, you give her the best listening ears.

As of right now I only listen to the sweet coos and hungry cries but I am fully prepared to listen to all the problems in his life in the future.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the best advice giver.

By the time my nephew needs advice, hopefully, I will have all of my life lessons perfected into relatable stories.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her a number-one fan

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When you make a girl an aunt, she learns what true love is.

The love I have for my nephew is so pure. Its the love that is just there. I don't have to choose to show love every day, I don't have to forgive, I don't have to worry if it is reciprocated, it is just there.

When you make a girl an aunt, you make her the happiest person in the world.

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I wonder if you'd be proud of me.

My first thought when I wake up in the morning is whether or not you still think of me. I think about if I am wearing the right outfit if I were to see you that day. I think about if I am saying the right thing for you to want to want me again.

Throughout my day, I think about whether or not you're happy. I wonder if the feeling in my heart of missing who I thought you were is making its way to you. Sometimes I think about what I did to make you hate me as much as you do.

Sometimes when things get really hard, I think about picking up the phone to call you. Time keeps passing from the last time I saw you and during that time I've painted a picture of you that would probably only disappoint me in the end. Your phone number still sits in my phone and I go to your contact, wanting to call, but knowing that at the other end is not the person I used to know.

I wonder if you watch me. I wonder if the posts I make, pictures I post, and articles I write are viewed by you and whether or not you care to even search my name. I wonder if you ask people about me or if you care to know the person I am today.

Without you, I have changed. It has been two years and though time will only continue moving on without you, I wonder what would have happened if I didn't make the choices I made to make you react in the way you have.

When the sun shines bright on the flowers blooming around campus, I think of your jokes and sarcastic wit. When the rain pours from the sky and keeps me imprisoned within the walls of a building, I think of ways I felt imprisoned by you. When clouds form shapes in the sky that I can make stories out of, I think of the way life could've been.

Sometimes I write to you. They are the letters I can never send because I have to remind myself that though we knew each other once, you do not know me anymore. The picture in my mind of who you are now is someone who'd love me with open arms, but I know that there's no truth in that. It's only my wishful thinking out to break my heart once more.

I wonder if you hear me when I try talking to you. I wonder if the words I tell God are making their way to you as you go on living the life we always talked about when times get tough. I wonder if you're talking to God about me.

As I watch the sunset, I think about the last moment I was with you. As that chapter ended, I was only wishfully thinking that walking away would save me from further pain. In the end, I don't know about how life would've been different had it not happened.

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No matter what, my heart still yearns for a hug. A hug where I can bury myself into your body and feel safe. A hug where I forget every worry in my mind and focus solely on the love.

I wonder if you'd still love me if I changed myself to be the person you've always wanted me to be. I wonder if you'd forgive me for walking away, even if it was for me to change to be a better person. I wonder if you'll ever even read this.

Days like today, I want to go back in time. I sit on the benches around campus and look up at the sky, down at the cars passing by, and listen to life move on all around me as I remain stuck. I hear people talking, see them laughing, and wonder if there's any way I could one day feel as alive as they do.

The truth is that I was never enough for you. No matter how much I changed, kept notes of what you liked so I could be like that, or just kept my head down and moved silently, nothing was ever enough.

No matter what, though, I still yearn to be loved in the way that I picture you should've loved me. Closure does not exist. You were the ones who were supposed to hold me down. But now I am nothing to you...I was always nothing to you.

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